The rising stars to keep a close eye on at AFF Suzuki Cup 2020

As the AFF Suzuki Cup returns for its 13th edition on Sunday, Southeast Asia's premier tournament will once again serve as a platform for the region's hottest young talents to showcase their ability.

While now undeniably stars of the continent even, the likes of Thailand's Chanathip Songkrasin and Nguyen Quang Hai of Vietnam are among those who first rose to prominence with a series of standout displays at the Suzuki Cup.

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From Leicester's Thai prospect to Malaysian and Indonesian starlets looking to make a name for themselves in Europe, we look at ten rising stars to watch closely over the next month.

Thanawat Suengchitthawon (Thailand)

Having moved to France at a young age, Thanawat Suengchitthawon began his career at Nancy and even represented the French at youth level, before deciding to switch his allegiance to Thailand earlier this year.

A tidy and nifty playmaker who is currently on the books of former Premier League champions Leicester, the 21-year-old is yet to really light up the international stage in his first three caps for the War Elephants but has the necessary quality required to do just that at the Suzuki Cup.

Mouzinho (Timor-Leste)

As Southeast Asia's youngest country, Timor-Leste are a team looking to take significant steps forward in the region's football scene as they continue the hunt for their first-ever points in Suzuki Cup history.

If they are to do that, it could just be Mouzinho playing a pivotal role given the 19-year-old has emerged as a real gem on the hands of the Timorese, especially after he finished joint-top scorer at the 2019 AFF U-18 Youth Championship with six goals as his side achieved a creditable fourth-place finish in their group ahead of Philippines and Brunei Darussalam.

Yrick Gallantes (Philippines)

There is a fair amount of youth in the Philippines squad for the Suzuki Cup with Azkals Development Team -- formed in 2020 as a developmental club team -- the most-represented side with nine call-ups.

While it means that there will plenty of Philippine prospects looking to shine, one who has already done so is Yrick Gallantes, a versatile wide man blessed with electric pace who has already won his first cap at the age of 18 in a 4-1 win over Guam in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup back on Sep. 10, 2019.

Nur Adam Abdullah (Singapore)

The newly-crowned Singapore Premier League Young Player of the Year, following his title-winning exploits with Lion City Sailors, Nur Adam Abdullah has displayed enough potential to suggest he could hold down the Singapore left-back spot for the next decade.

Combining a take-no-prisoners approach when it comes to his defensive duties with sound technical ability, Nur Adam is a chance to feature in the Lions starting XI despite only winning his first cap earlier this month.

Hein Htet Aung (Myanmar)

Myanmar's Hein Htet Aung is one of the few Myanmar players currently plying their trade abroad, having joined Malaysia Super League outfit Selangor from Hantharwady United at the start of 2021.

Initially starting out with Selangor II in the second-tier Premier League, he made an instant impact with two goals in the opening month of the season to earn promotion to the main side, where he would go on to also score twice in the top-flight campaign against Kedah Darul Aman and Melaka United.

Nguyen Hoang Duc (Vietnam)

Although Nguyen Quang Hai has been one of the catalysts behind Vietnam's rise over the past four years, there are some in the Vietnamese football circle who believe his talent could be matched by Nguyen Hoang Duc.

While Quang Hai excels more in the attacking third, Hoang Duc is equally influential in the defensive aspect of the game as he is offensively, and is also a real threat from dead-ball situations even if he may currently be second in the pecking order behind the former.

Bounphachan Bounkong (Laos)

Laos' problems with match-fixing over the years -- and subsequent bans imposed on players -- has regularly forced them to revamp the national team, but it has helped in ushering in a new generation of talent.

Still only 21, Bounphachan Bounkong already featured at the last Suzuki Cup in 2018 and the right-sided player should be aiming to be more influential for the Laotians this time around.

Witan Sulaeman (Indonesia)

Following his starring role in Indonesia's run to the quarter-finals of the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship, Witan Sulaeman would earn a move to Serbia's Radnik Surdulica last February and would make five appearances in the SuperLiga.

The 20-year-old winger has since joined Poland's Lechia Gdansk and will continue to look to fly the flag for Indonesia in Europe, although his immediate focus will be on helping Indonesia claim a long-awaited maiden AFF crown.

Sieng Chanthea (Cambodia)

Sieng Chanthea had a debut to remember for Cambodia when -- just 16 -- he came off the bench the 81st minute in a match against Pakistan and duly scored his first goal shortly after.

Now 19, Chanthea already has 13 caps to his name and should get his chance to shine even though the Cambodians will still be relying on plenty of the old guard, including Chan Vathanaka, Keo Sokpheng and Prak Mony Udom.

Luqman Hakim Shamsudin (Malaysia)

In 2018, a 16-year-old Luqman Hakim Shamsudin -- who barely could fill out his jersey -- would make a real statement in the opening match of the AFC U-16 Championship with four goals in Malaysia's 6-2 win over Tajikistan.

Blessed with a deadly combination of pace and finishing ability, Luqman instantly became the name on everyone's lips in Malaysian football and is currently looking to make his mark in Europe have signed for Belgium's Kortrijk in 2019.